The June Brides initially existed for such a very short period between 1983 and 1986 but achieved a great deal in that initial burst of activity. They released five singles, an album, There Are Eight Million Stories, recorded a session for John Peel and toured with The Smiths. Fans included Morrissey and Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie. Problems with the record label who issued the album followed, so the band moved labels before finally calling it a day, skint and disillusioned. Frontman Phil Wilson then released two singles for Creation Records before disappearing from view for almost two decades.
In that fallow period The June Brides continued to grow in status with the release of a best of followed by the two disc ‘Every Conversation: The Story of The June Brides and Phil Wilson’ which collected every track the band had ever recorded as well as Phil Wilson’s solo material. The Manic Street Preachers recorded a cover of ‘The Instrumental’ from the album and Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian declared himself a massive fan as did the critically acclaimed writer Dave Eggers who wrote an enthusiastic piece on the band for The Guardian.
Phil Wilson came out of musical retirement in 2007 having “gone from working in the Treasury on Environmental Taxation to being a house-husband in a small town in Devon” an event he confesses that “I hadn’t really seen that coming!” with the release of a single and an album God Bless Jim Kennedy on the influential independent American label Slumberland. Originally Phil decided against calling this project The June Brides due to the fact that “it was literally just me alone, so using my own name was appropriate. Even when I got a couple of guys from down here in Devon to play drums and bass it seemed wisest to continue using my given name rather than calling the band ‘The June Brides’ – as I felt that that would be misleading people, seeing as I was the only ‘June Bride’ in the band!” However, over a short period of time things seemed to evolve quite naturally. “Three of the original band gradually came back to playing with me, and it seemed right to go with the original name again. God Bless Jim Kennedy could, in all fairness, have been released as a Junies album – and probably should have been.”
Since reforming The June Brides have played in Europe and the States as well as releasing a sublime single ‘A January Moon’ on Occultation Records. Due to other commitments live dates have been fairly sporadic though they recently played at the Indietracks festival and an all day event in London for the launch of the boxset Scared To Get Happy: A Story of Indie-Pop 80-89, along with The Primitives and Blue Orchids. Asked how things have gone since the reformation, Phil happily responds that “The best thing has been the audiences. What is noticeable, particularly when we have played in Europe and the USA, is the age spread of the people who come – ranging from 18 year olds to the 50 year olds who were there the first time around. It has given me immense joy, and some pride, to know that the appeal of the band has come down to later generation.”
There are plans for a new single and album though nothing will be rushed into. “It would have been easy, and the expected thing to do, to rush in and record a new album after releasing the single. But I was very keen to give it more time before doing so. I want the album to feel special – not just the expected thing to do. So I’m approaching it slowly. But there’s no real rush: I did leave 27 between my last two albums, after all!”
This mini tour taking in Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen will be the first time The June Brides have played north of Hadrian’s wall in almost three decades. Did Phil have any fond memories of their previous trips to Scotland? “Well (and I mean this in the nicest possible way)… what I remember is that Scottish gigs tend to be a bit mental! When an audience up there likes what you’re doing, they tend to throw themselves into it and create a fantastic atmosphere. I totally associate Scotland with smiling, dancing and a bit of exciting madness.”
The June Brides play Glasgow, Broadcast on Thursday 28th November followed by Dundee, Beat Generator Live! on Friday 29th November and Aberdeen, The Moorings on Saturday 30th November.